Following the latest 21-day review of the coronavirus regulations, the First Minister has set out a phased timetable to ease restrictions for large parts of Wales’ visitor, hospitality, and leisure and tourism sectors.
He is asking the beauty sector and other close-contact services, including tattooists and nail salons, to begin preparing to reopen from 27 July, if the conditions allow.
Although cases of coronavirus are declining in Wales, the disease has not gone away and everyone has a responsibility to maintain social distancing, good hand hygiene and to respect the places and communities they visit.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
Together we are making good progress to tackle the spread of this virus. It is thanks to the efforts we have made together that we are able to lift the restrictions and re-open more parts of our society and economy.
However, the threat from coronavirus has not gone away and only by all of us acting responsibly will we be able to keep Wales safe. This means maintaining social distancing, thinking carefully about where we go and why.
Immediate changes will come into effect tomorrow (Saturday 11 July) when self-contained holiday accommodation opens.
From Monday, (13 July) the following will be able to open, subject to following the guidance about coronavirus-safe ways to operate:
- Hairdressing salons and barbershops, including mobile hairdressers.
- Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes outdoors.
- Outdoor cinemas.
- Indoor visitor attractions, but a small number of underground visitor attractions will remain closed for the time being because of the higher risks associated with these environments. The Welsh Government will continue to work with these attractions towards safe re-opening.
- Places of worship. Faith leaders can begin to gradually resume services when they are ready to do so safely.
The Welsh Government is also making changes to the regulations to allow larger gatherings of up to 30 people outdoors only where these are organised and supervised by a responsible person for sports and other leisure activities and classes.
This will allow sports and leisure activities, such as fitness and dance classes to take place outdoors, as well as collective worship.
From July 20, playgrounds, community centres and outdoor gyms will be able to reopen gradually over the following weeks as and when safety checks and mitigations are put in place. Re-opening community centres will help local authorities provide summer holiday play schemes and childcare.
The First Minister is today calling on other businesses and sectors to prepare for re-opening from 27 July:
- Close contact services, including nail and beauty salons and businesses providing tanning services, massages, body piercings, tattooing, electrolysis or acupuncture.
- Indoor cinemas, museums, galleries and archive services.
- Tourist accommodation with shared facilities, such as camping sites. Opening would be from 25 July.
- Reopening the housing market fully.
A final decision about reopening these sectors will depend on conditions and feedback from the initial opening of the tourism industry, indoor attractions and hairdressing sector.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
We have used our headroom to continue re-opening our economy and society in Wales. We have also used part of our headroom to enable the Welsh NHS to provide more essential care and treatment for people – services, which were suspended in March to allow the health service to prepare for coronavirus.
Our ability to carry on lifting the restrictions rests on everyone in Wales – we need everyone’s help to continue following the rule to keep levels of coronavirus at an absolute minimum.
The Welsh Government will also make changes to the physical distancing regulations to reflect some of the challenges faced by the hospitality, beauty industry and other sectors where a 2m distance cannot be reasonably maintained at all times.”
The law in Wales will continue to make the 2m distance the default position, because this remains the safest way to protect people’s health. But when 2m cannot reasonably be maintained, the regulations will require businesses to put in place a set of additional measures to minimise the risk of the virus spreading, including taking reasonable steps to minimise close face-to-face contact and maintain hygiene.
The next formal review of the regulations is due by 30 July. Detailed discussions about how indoor hospitality can operate in a coronavirus-safe way are ongoing. Options for reopening will be considered from 3 August, if conditions allow.
The Welsh Government is also discussing with local authorities and other operators how gyms, leisure centres, fitness studios and swimming pools can introduce measures to safely open. Further work is being undertaken about the risk of coronavirus in swimming pools.